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Start Writing a Company Newsletter

Updated on October 10, 2014
First decide what type of newsletter your company needs
First decide what type of newsletter your company needs

Newsletter Type

When writing a company newsletter the first thing to decide is the purpose of the newsletter. Many times the purpose can be categorized into:

  • Informative
  • Sales
  • Persuasive

By first determining the objective of your newsletter, you will be able to use the guidelines below to choose your audience, write your articles, and determine layout. Each type of newsletter has its own distinct feel and direction.

An informative newsletter would be one that explains about a particular project, service area or idea. It would present facts and reasoning about the newsletter topic.

A sales newsletter would announce a specific sale or product. In this type of newsletter you would find photos, descriptions and details.

A persuasive newsletter encourages your reader to try a specific product or hire a certain company. A newsletter of this kind will have a positive depiction of the product or company, customer reviews or comments.

Set a budget and stick to it
Set a budget and stick to it
Choose the best newsletter for your target audience
Choose the best newsletter for your target audience
Be sure to add time to your schedule to complete all the newsletter requirements
Be sure to add time to your schedule to complete all the newsletter requirements

Length

How long will your newsletter be? One page, four pages? Consider these options when deciding on the length of your company's newsletter:

  • Cost. If you are mailing the newsletter via "snail mail," consider the postage costs of the mailing. A two page, front and back newsletter is going to be heavier than a one-page newsletter, thus costing more. Know your budget ahead of time so you do not spend more money than you have set aside.
  • Audience. If your audience is accustomed to long readings, then consider a more lengthy newsletter. Professionals reading about matters that affect their businesses might consider reading page after page on a particular subject. However, if you have chosen an informative newsletter about a simple topic, you may decide to write a short newsletter in order to cut back on wasted space or using filler articles.
  • Time. How much time can you lend to this newsletter? If you have a team of writers, designers and proofreaders then write a book! However, many times the newsletter writer, designer and proofreader is the same marketing employee! If you overexert yourself on the newsletter length you will constantly battle deadlines while searching for cookie-cutter material to fill up your newsletter.

Articles

Now that you have chosen the type of newsletter and determined your audience, think about the articles you will add. Unless you are writing a medical or science journal, you will probably want to write short, to the point articles for your readers. In today's world of instant gratification, consider making each article a few short paragraphs. The Neilson/Norman Group says that most people spend less than one minute on a web page. Most web pages are interactive with pictures and sounds. It is safe to assume that readers of the printed page will more than likely spend the same amount of time or less reading a newsletter. Use appropriate language that your particular reader will understand and enjoy. This brings us to a very important part of the newsletter writing process...

Write Attention-grabbing Headlines

The headline is what will draw the reader to the article. Look at these two examples:

  • Desk Chair Recall Affects Many
  • Do You Have This Dangerous Chair In Your Home?

Both of these headlines introduce a story about a defective chair. However, the second headline draws the reader in to find out how this information relates to them. Let's look at one more:

  • Earlybird Savings Are For A Limited Time
  • Don't Miss Your 50% Savings This Week!

The first headline is bland and does not give any specific information, while the second headline informs me that I have a week to save half off of some item. The second headline is about me, and that makes me want to read the article.

Use Eye-catching Graphics

When reading the eye moves from left to right. Consider placing a photo or graphic on the left of the article. This will get the reader's attention and pull them into reading.

Be sure your photo is relevant to the article and inoffensive. One rule I like to use is that if it made me question whether it is offensive or not, do NOT use it. It is always better to be safe than sorry on this issue.

Also, be sure to give credit for any "borrowed" photos. Just because you find a picture on the internet does not mean it is free to use. Many companies charge a fee to use their pictures in your writing. When possible, use

Use added features such as pull quotes to break up the text of your article. Many times these are eyecatching because they are larger than the regular text and they stand out. This will draw your reader's attention to the article. Other features can be a strategically placed line or box to make a specific part of the article stand out. Be creative.

"Use pull quotes to make text stand out in your article."

If color is out of your budget consider different shades of gray to offset items
If color is out of your budget consider different shades of gray to offset items

Design Your Layout

Be sure to put your most interesting story on the front page. If you are writing a one page, front only newsletter, place your best article on the top left. (Remember, we read from left to right, so this is where the reader's eye will go first.) If you are writing a four page, folded newsletter, spread your good content throughout all pages. Make sure each page has at least one stimulating article.

Take it easy on the "filler." Filler is what most writers use to fill in the empty space. It could be items such as photos, puzzles, recipes, etc. Every newsletter can bear some filler, but make sure it is relevant to the content of the newsletter and a nearby article. There's no reason to add a list of spring cleaning tips when your newsletter is going out in November.

Consider color! Color is a newsletter's best friend, but it can be very expensive! Trying working at least one color into your newsletter budget. By adding one color, you can use various shades of that color as well. This will give the reader the illusion of many colors in your publication, but you only pay for one. If color is simply out of the question try to incorporate grays into your layout, or even use reverse lettering. Reverse lettering is when you have white letters on a black background. Use caution with this technique, however. It can backfire on you if the lettering is too small which can become illegible.

Borrow an Extra Pair of Eyes

Proofreading has never been my strong suit when it comes to my own writing. However, I seem to be the "go-to" person when anyone else in the office has something to be published. When you spend countless hours writing and reading your work, you start to read the way you think it is written. Ask a co-worker to read your writing before you send it to the printer. By having someone proofread your work, you could save money and time in the long run with extra changes from the printer. Or in the worst case scenario, prevent a newsletter from going public with an error!

Ask for help proofreading! Sometimes words are spelled correctly, however they are the entirely wrong word!
Ask for help proofreading! Sometimes words are spelled correctly, however they are the entirely wrong word!

Printing Vs. Online

If you decide that you will have your newsletter printed and mailed, shop around for printing costs. Printing companies are trying to get your business and they are competing with each other. If you find a good online deal but would rather use a local company, ask the company if they will match the online pricing.

Be sure to get a detailed estimate of what the charges will include. Paper quality, color and number of pages will change the pricing of your newsletter drastically. If you find the prices too high for you, negotiate. Ask the printer if you can use a different cardstock or reduce your newsletter to one page. There are many options available.

With today's technology more businesses are opting for online newsletters. These are relatively less expensive and can be sent out with a click of a mouse. Online newsletters do have drawbacks. Consider your audience. Are you trying to send out a newsletter to a group who typically would not use computers or email? Is your newsletter "mobile ready" i.e. can you read it easily on a smart phone or tablet?

There are companies who can send newsletters out for your business. Be sure to get all the details of what they offer. Do they limit the number of emails that go out? Do they archive your publications? Are they online for the public? What are any hidden costs such as storage fees or bounce back fees? All of these questions are important if you are considering an online newsletter.

Is your newsletter "mobile friendly"?
Is your newsletter "mobile friendly"?

Get Started

If it is important to your company to offer a newsletter, then get started! Set a deadline for when your newsletter needs to be disseminated and work backwards. Here are some dates to consider working backwards:

  • Mail/email date
  • Send final proof to the printer
  • Get final approval from supervisor
  • Finish layout
  • All articles proofread
  • Write articles
  • Brainstorm for article ideas
  • Decide what newsletter subject
  • Choose audience
  • Start!

Comments

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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I wrote company newsletters for nearly 30 years--great non-fiction writing practice and a high 'enjoyability' factor.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

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